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COURT WORKS TO SUPPRESS ATTORNEY’S ACCESS TO ABA DELEGATION

FITSNews – February 19, 2008 – Although an official schedule for the American Bar Association (ABA)‘s late summer visit to South Carolina hasn’t even been published yet, the S.C. Supreme Court is already seeking to control which attorneys will be allowed to speak to the panel charged with determining the fate of the Charleston School of Law.

Last November, the Court issued its now infamous ruling to toss out an entire section of the state bar exam – a highly irregular move which coincidentally raised the Charleston School of Law’s passage rate to the precise level required by the ABA for full accreditation.

Receiving full accreditiation could be worth up to $50 million to the school’s owners.

Now, according to e-mails obtained exclusively by FITSNews, at least three South Carolina attorneys who have been critical of the Court’s actions in the past have been told that they will not be allowed to participate in the ABA’s visit. The Court’s Office of Disciplinary Council, which issued the rejections, also happens to be the sole regulator of the legal profession in South Carolina.

“We have filled all the interview slots,” Supreme Court Disciplinary Council Lesley M. Coggiola wrote to one of the attorneys requesting an audience with the ABA, adding that “this has been in the planning stages for some time.”

Two other attorneys forwarded FITSNews similarly terse e-mail rejections received from Coggiola.

“It’s unbelievable,” one attorney told us of the Court’s behavior. “They have closed the ABA interview list before it was ever even announced.”

Neither the ABA nor the Supreme Court were immediately available for comment.